Originally published Dec. 27, 2017 in the West Virginia Gazette-Mail.
By Ben Calwell
Children who are home-schooled often miss out on the kinds of physical education programs their peers receive in public or private schools.
The YMCA of the Kanawha Valley recognizes this, and, for about the last 20 years, it has offered a program it calls Homeschool Physical Education.
“We try to offer a PE program for them and try to introduce different sports to them, so they can find something they like,” White said.
Winter Semester I begins Jan. 9 with a unit on indoor hockey. It will run through Jan. 23. Tennis will be the focus from Jan. 30 through Feb. 13, and then from Feb. 20 through March 6, kickball will take center stage.
“Kickball seems to be coming back,” White said.
Winter Semester II for Homeschool PE starts March 13 and focuses on basketball.
“Since it’s ‘March Madness,’ we do basketball.”
Basketball lasts through March 27. Then, as spring and summer approach, swimming is next up from April 3 through 24.
“And then we’ll do a tee-ball/baseball unit after that.”
Tee-ball/baseball will run from April 24 through May 8.
Elementary-age homeschoolers will attend their PE classes from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, and middle school and high school-age homeschoolers will meet from 2 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays. White said various YMCA directors would be leading each of the PE classes.
The cost for the Homeschool PE program is $75 for YMCA members and $90 for non-members. However, fee discounts are available through the YMCA Community Assistance Program. Multi-child discounts are also available for full-paying members.
The community assistance program provides a sliding scale for membership and program discounts based on family income. For example, families of four with a household income of $60,000 or less can receive some sort of discount at the YMCA of Kanawha Valley.
“I try to encourage everyone to sign up for the community assistance program,” White said.
White said the YMCA’s Homeschool PE program is popular.
“This year, we had one of our largest registrations over the last few years. We’ve met with parents and tried to go about it a different way. We want to make sure we’re providing a good service to them and making sure everything runs smoothly. We want the kids to have a very good experience with us.”
Many home-schooled children from surrounding communities sign up for the YMCA’s PE classes.
“We do have a lot of students participate from outside of Charleston. I think we have some that come from as far as Ripley,” she said.
And when parents drop their children off for the Homeschool PE classes, they can stay and work out themselves. This is free for parents whose children are enrolled in the Y’s Homeschool PE program.
“We have a nice workout facility; we have free weights, cardio equipment and machines, as well,” White said.
For more information about the YMCA of Kanawha Valley’s Homeschool PE program, call White at 304-340-3533.
Information is also available at www.ymcaofkv.org